Running with kids

So this year, for many different reasons (or excuses), I did not sign up for any races in the spring.  I won't get into will really just sound like I'm making excuses.  Turned out, it wasn't a bad decision as I just had to take 3 weeks off running due to an injury anyway.  

In the meantime, as I was feeling sorry for myself, my kids have been asking about running together.  My girls are 5 and 8 years old and to be honest, I haven't considered running with them before.  I believe that kids their age should be running for fun as they are playing.  However, since there seemed to be interest...I ended up signing them up for the Shaw Mini Sun Run. This was a big decision for me, I am not a fan of the Sun Run.  Don't get me wrong, anything to get people out there moving is great, however, I would not normally choose to run with 50,000 other people.  

So we have started our "training".  I use the term loosely, of course.  Basically, we just started getting out there, running together for longer periods than just the sprints involved in soccer or tag.  These are just a few observations I have made along the way:

1. You need to be patient.  You will literally be stopping to smell the roses or look at slugs or read signs.  Let it go.  This is time well spent with your kids.

2. Go gradually.  I don't necessarily think you need a training program to build up to a 2.5K run but if you need one you'll find one here.  You need to walk/run initially just like you would if you were a beginner runner and increase your distance gradually.

3. Make it interesting.  Add some sprint or interval training but call it tag or a race.  Make your destination a fun one, like the playground.

4. Set goals (mini ones) and include long and short term goals like trying to run to the next stop sign or "hey, next time we could try to run all the way to grandma's house". 

5. Get your kids some light and flexible shoes.  Shoes make such a huge difference and the kids can feel it too.  I'll never forget the first time I bought my older daughter a pair of Nike free 5's and she was literally sprinting around all day because the shoes felt so great.  There lots of great quality shoes out there for kids.  You'll find some good recommendations here.

Anyway, I hope you are getting out there in the beautiful Vancouver sunshine with your kids whether to run or just to play.  See you at the Sun Run.